Kansas comeback dashed by Iowa State
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Trailing by seven points with 2:48 to play in the game the Kansas defense provided the stop it had been searching for and allowed redshirt freshman quarterback Carter Stanley an opportunity to tie the game, but an interception on the second play provided Iowa State a 31-24 victory Saturday afternoon inside Memorial Stadium.
Kansas (1-9, 0-7 Big 12) held Iowa State (2-8, 1-6 Big 12) to a manageable 85 rushing yards in the first half as the Jayhawks claimed a 14-10 halftime lead. Locker room adjustments by the ISU coaching staff gave an avenue for the rushing attack to push post 153 second half yards on the ground and 238 on the day.
In the first start and extended action of his career, Stanley completed 26-of-38 passes for 152 yards – both career highs – and a touchdown. The running back tandem of senior Ke’aun Kinner and sophomore Taylor Martin took much of the pressure away from Stanley as the ground game provided a season-rushing-high 244 of KU’s 415 yards.
Kinner toted 18 times for 152 yards and a score, while Martin chipped in 17 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown. Three different wide receivers caught six or more passes as senior Shakiem Barbel had six for 60, junior LaQuvionte Gonzalez recorded seven for 39 and sophomore Steven Sims Jr., totaled a team-high nine for 37 yards and the lone aerial touchdown.
Iowa State’s quarterback Jacob Park was successful on 20 of his 26 pass attempts and registered 205 yards and two scores. Running back David Montgomery gave the Jayhawks trouble throughout the game, but mainly in the second stanza, on his way to 24 rushes and 169 yards.
Kansas’ defense surrendered a field goal after a muffed punt at the Jayhawk 8-yard line, but settled in to hold the Cyclones to just 10 points and 191 first half yards.
Following an interception by senior safety Fish Smithson, head coach David Beaty dialed up a series of quick-hit perimeter runs and passes to keep the chains moving. Kinner took a carry 20 yards off the left side and after 13-total plays, covering 88 yards – eight of which went for less than a gain of 10 – Stanley connected with Sims on a seven-yard pass in the end zone. Kansas claimed the 7-3 lead with 5:24 to play in the first quarter.
A steady dose of Kinner, Martin and Stanley short passes impressively marched the Jayhawks down the field again on their next possession. At the quarter change Martin plunged into the end zone from a yard away capping another 13-play drive, this one covering 76 yards for a 14-3 lead.
Iowa State responded to the back-to-back touchdowns with a 14-play, 80-yard sequence that saw Park find Allen Lazard for a four-yard score, 14-10, with 3:35 to play in the half. The 14-10 score held into halftime.
Kansas’ offense picked up right where it left off out of the locker room. Kinner and Martin shouldered the load down to the Iowa State 20-yard line before the drive stalled. The tandem combined for eight carries and 53 yards on the 11-play possession. Senior kicker Matthew Wyman connected on the 37-yard try to give the Jayhawks a touchdown lead, 17-10.
Iowa State managed to answer in 10 plays by covering 63 yards to as Park threw his second touchdown, this time a 12-yarder to Deshaunte Jones. A botched extra point resulted in Kansas clinging to the lead, 17-16, with 6:46 to play in the third period.
Kinner eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the next drive and simultaneously put Kansas up by eight points, 24-16, after he burst through the middle of the line and was untouched in the secondary for 39 yards.
Iowa State’s offensive halftime adjustment paid off as the Cyclones came out focused on the run. The seesaw scoring effect continued thanks to running back Mitchell Harger’s 59 rushing yards on the drive.
The possession consumed 10 plays and 80 yards as Harger capped it with a six-yard scamper, 24-22, with 10 seconds to play in the third. The two-point conversion failed as senior cornerback Brandon Stewart sailed in to make a stop on a pass into the right flat.
The Cyclones managed to stop Kansas on the ensuing drive and force a punt, but KU’s defense wasn’t as fortunate. The Jayhawks still had no answer for the run as Montgomery broke loose for 46 yards and tromped his way down to the Kansas 3-yard line.
Quarterback Joel Lanning barreled his way into the end zone from a yard away to put Iowa State back on top, 28-24. A second-straight two-point attempt failed and the lead was just four points, 28-24, with 12:03 to play.
Beaty elected to chew up some clock with six run plays of the nine-play drive split between Kinner and Martin. The possession was turned over on downs at Iowa State’s 42-yard line as Stanley connected with Sims a yard short over the middle on a 4th-and-4 with 8:21 remaining.
Kansas needed either a stop or a field goal to keep the contest within one possession as time ticked away in the fourth. Iowa State secured three third down conversions to move down to the Kansas 20-yard line, but on the next three plays Kansas’ defense stone-walled Montgomery’s rushes and achieved the stop it was looking for – 4th-and-10 from the 19-yard line with 2:53 to play. Cole Netten’s 36-yard field goal went through the uprights and after 13 plays over five minutes removed from the clock, Iowa State held a 31-24 lead.
With 2:48 to play and no timeouts remaining, Stanley lobbed a pass up on the left sideline with no Jayhawks in the area that was intercepted at KU’s 38-yard line. The Cyclones ran out the remainder of the clock and claimed the 31-24 victory.
Kansas head coach David Beaty
Q. Is this the most disappointed the guys have felt after a loss this year?
DAVID BEATY: It’s pretty disappointing.
Q. Just the nature of the second half, leaving that bad taste in your mouth, it seemed like Iowa State controlled the fourth quarter.
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, that wasn’t fun to watch. We’ve got to get off the field. I thought we did some good things first half doing that, and then we didn’t sustain our drives in the second half to go put points on the board. You can’t kick field goals, man. You’re not going to be able to kick field goals in this league and win. You can’t do that. You’ve got to score touchdowns. We didn’t do it.
Q. How did you structure the offense in order for Carter (Stanley) to be successful and comfortable in his first start?
DAVID BEATY: Well, we really didn’t do much different, pretty much the same things that we’ve been doing. I thought he did a good job with diagnosing what was going on inside in the box and knowing when he needed to get it out wide and kind of played the numbers game. Late in the game I thought we had some things that I wish we had back, but you don’t get them back. It’s just the way it is.
Q. You were running the ball well until they stopped you. Did they put more guys in the box?
DAVID BEATY: I thought they did a good job of adjusting late. They started adding extra dudes into the box. Early they were doing that and we were able to get a hat on it, still were able to break some tackles. We weren’t able to break tackles late. I thought maybe some penetration at the point of attack really kind of killed us because there were times when we had open hats and we were able to make them miss, but the penetration wasn’t occurring right there at the line, and that makes it hard on those running backs.
You know, if there’s a bright spot tonight, I thought those running backs ran hard. I thought they did some good things today. We scored on a long run, which we hadn’t done. That was something to — that I was proud of, and we had a couple of other opportunities to do that. We’ve got to finish in the end zone. We can’t be kicking field goals. I didn’t think we were very good when we were right around the red zone and when we got in there. We’ve got to score touchdowns.
Q. What was the breakdown on that Stanley interception?
DAVID BEATY: We just ran an out and up to Steven Sims, I believe. The guy was in press coverage, he just ran him right out of bounds, and he had his hands on him from the very beginning. I didn’t really see too much about what happened there, but I think Carter was just trying to make a play there. He kind of got flushed, and it was not a very good throw, and he got picked.
Q. What are the challenges of keeping the players looking forward and moving ahead and getting ready to play the next couple weeks?
DAVID BEATY: Well, I think the focus for us has been on something other than ourselves. It’s been on our family, our football family program. It’s been on the seniors, what these guys have given to this program, appreciating them maybe when even sometimes they don’t get the — they don’t necessarily — we don’t show them enough how much we appreciate what they’ve done because there’s some guys that have played some good football here.
Really for our guys, they want those seniors to have good last experiences here.
Q. First half you had momentum. It seems like you called a time-out, then the quarterback punted. What went into that thought process?
DAVID BEATY: Just too far away, man. Fourth and two is a whole different animal. If we were up there in 4th and half a foot, something like that, it’s a little bit different deal. But we just didn’t feel good about what we were seeing, and we felt like we were stopping them and we wanted to pin them is what we wanted to do. We wanted to pin them, and I thought we were doing a pretty good job defensively there.
For us we know that was the right decision because if not, we have the lead, we give them a huge momentum swing right there if they get the ball there as opposed to worst-case scenario right there where it went to the ball being on the 20, which we gained a little bit of yardage there, but we certainly didn’t want to give it to them where they were.
Q. Did you feel like your offense lost any momentum?
DAVID BEATY: No, I think we came out and ran the football pretty good in that first drive coming out, didn’t you? I thought we did. I thought we went right down there and scored, so I don’t think that affected us.
Q. Would you say Carter’s pace and control of the offense was a positive, especially early in that first half?
DAVID BEATY: Really good. I thought the kids really responded well to him. He played by the rules, which is something we talk about a lot, which was really good. I thought that the guys, they did a good job of blocking on the perimeter early in the game, which was good, which allowed him to be successful. I thought he did some good things with his feet. He got out a couple times and extended plays, which was good, and it was good to see. It was good to see him have a pretty good start today.
When you don’t win the game, it’s hard to think that you have a good start. I’m going to have to — you’ve got to forgive me, I’m going to have to watch the tape to really know to be honest with you, so I can probably tell you a little bit better Tuesday. Obviously we are all very, very disappointed because we felt like we had a chance to win that one.
DAVID BEATY: Quite a bit. He did a nice job for us today. I’ll have to watch the tape to know for sure, but I know this: We can’t get that type of production without those guys doing a pretty decent job up front. I thought they did a really nice job early in the day moving the football. They started spiking on us a little bit, which is bringing people underneath, and putting some movement, and they had been doing that earlier in the year. I thought our guys really handled it well.
We made some adjustments at halftime, started getting the ball outside, and pressing everything wide to try to get them over-pursuing and being able to cut back, and I thought those were some nice adjustments our coaches made at the halftime. I thought our defense did a good job getting them off the field there late and giving us a chance to win, giving us a chance to at least tie it up. Disappointed that we weren’t able to do more with that last possession.
Q. Do you keep an extra eye on Carter during warmups just to see if his body language, his demeanor was any different from any other Saturday this season?
DAVID BEATY: He was excited. I could tell that. He was excited. You want that guy to want to go out there. You don’t want to see any fear in him, which is one of the things I really enjoyed today. He was very good with his questions. He was very good with what he was asking about what we were seeing versus what he was seeing. He had great suggestions as to what he was seeing out there. He actually checked a bunch of stuff today that — that was pretty good for a young guy to be able to put us in the right plays a bunch. He did some nice things. He really did.
Q. What went into the kickoff return with the camouflage? Had you seen that before or where did you come up with that?
DAVID BEATY: We seen — Joe brought that with him, Joe DeForest, and we felt we were going to need a momentum changer in this game and something that would help us — man, we thought we might be able to get completely out on that one. I thought maybe he got down a little bit. Had he not gotten down quite as quick, he might have been able to hide a little bit better. I think their sideline saw it, but I thought it was a really cool design by Joe, and I thought our kids executed it pretty well. It gave us the best return we had of the day if I’m not mistaken.
Q. Is Carter your guy for next week?
DAVID BEATY: He sure is. He did a good job, unless I look at the tape and I see something that tells me elsewise, and I don’t think I’m going to see that. I thought he handled his team well in the locker room. I thought the rest of our quarterbacks actually did a nice job of being good teammates on the sideline. That’s important. They were really doing a good job of communicating with him what he was seeing, hey, listen, they’re rolling the three now, they’re going three strong so they’re getting extra bodies in that mid-range stuff. Those guys were doing a really good job of communicating, which is something we want them to do because they’ve got to stay in the game for when they get their chance.
Q. Kinner had a really strong day, but you guys weren’t able to get him involved much in the fourth quarter. What led to that?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, he was banged up. We’re kind of at that point in the season where you’re trying to keep them fresh. He got hit a few times there late. But I’ll tell you what, he’s a good back, man. We’ve got to find a way to get him the ball even more. That was kind of the plan today was try to get the ball in his hands, and I thought we did that real early, and I thought really Taylor Martin actually, he gave us more production than he had, and he ran really hard, and he was a lot more disciplined with his runs in terms of his paths.
Above FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Kansas Senior RB Ke’aun Kinner
On what enabled him to have a career offensive day:
“I like to say, ‘Where the lineman go, I go,’ so those guys did a really good job upfront. I just followed them.”
On the long touchdown run and what he saw:
“It was an open hole. I felt like I had a good feel for their defense and what they did when we over played things. I saw a little crease and I hit it.”
On how he and Taylor Martin work together:
“I feel like we have a good duo going and we can accomplish a lot together.”
On how the run game helped Carter Stanley in his first start:
“It opened the pass the game once we were able to establish the run game early. We were opening it up for deep bombs and quick screens.”
On how this outcome felt knowing you were right there until the end:
“I feel like we could’ve gotten it done, but we have to be able to play four quarters of a game. We just have to find a way to put it all together and get that win.”
Kansas sophomore WR Steven Sims Jr.
On a tough loss:
“It’s always tough when you’re ahead and you lose the game. We had opportunities to win and we didn’t execute, so it was a tough loss today.”
On Carter Stanley:
“I feel like Carter did a great job today. I liked the way he played and I hope he continues to play better and elevate his game.”
On preparing for Iowa State:
“We saw everything (on film) we just had to execute at the end of the day. That’s what it came down to. There were some one-on-one battles we lost.”
On senior day next week:
“We want to send the seniors out with some wins under their belts. It’s going to be hard next week against Texas, but we just have to come to work.”
Kansas senior WR Shakiem Barbel
On staying motivated:
“Every loss is a tough loss. I think I speak for the team when I say we’re all in this together. We trust each other, we trust our coaches. Keeping morale up is believing in one another and knowing that the work we put in next week could put us in a position to win a game.”
On Coach Beaty in the locker room:
“We did a lot of good things on the field but we also did a lot of things to hurt ourselves. A couple of times the defense gave up big plays and offense didn’t produce points. We all know we wish we had a couple of plays back out there but we need to keep our heads up and get ready to work and come back on Monday.”
On Carter Stanley:
“Hats off to Carter, man. He came out there with a poise that it’s tough for a young quarterback to have in a big game. I thought he did a great job distributing the ball. We came up a little short, but hats off to him.”
On senior day next week:
“You want to win every game but definitely the last home game, it’s critical, with it being senior day. Being a senior, I want to go out at least saying I won my last home game. So it just kind of puts some extra ‘oomph’ on the game. It makes me want to go out there and play hard.”
On his last moments as a player:
“I wouldn’t say I value anything different. The whole year I go into every week valuing the little things. Like, ‘Dang this is my last year,’ but this last game is going to be bittersweet knowing that I’m going to be out there with my teammates for the last time practicing for a home game.”
Kansas senior S Fish Smithson
On preparing for ISU:
“Our coaches did a great job of preparing us throughout the whole week and halftime making sure we were where we were supposed to be at. It came down to not winning some of those important battles.”
On Carter Stanley:
“He’s a general. Going out there as a quarterback you have to take command and take control of the whole thing. I think he did a great job running the system, running and throwing the ball and making some plays for us.”
On what he will say to the team as a senior:
“I haven’t thought about that. We still have two more games to finish out strong. I know my last message to the team will be real tough.”
On the supportive fans
“It feels good with the fan base supporting us a lot. We appreciate that.”
Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell
“I’ll get started here and then open it up to you guys. You know first and foremost I have to give credit to this Kansas team. I got a chance to meet coach (David) Beaty this spring, and I was really impressed with him, his character, who he is and what he’s doing because I think we have some similarities in what we are trying to do. I think you could really see it from their kids, and they played outstanding to be honest with you. I thought they played a really good football game, and I thought our football team played in spurts really good football. I think the biggest thing that I’ll say in terms of positive is our resolve of our seniors. Those were the guys who made plays when we really needed them to, and I think that’s really rewarding. I told this team last week that I refuse to give up on this year’s football team. I’m not looking for next year, I’m looking for right now. I thought a lot about our kids hanging in there, basically when we didn’t play our best early. Now we have to get back to work and we have two more opportunities to get better and continue to get the foundation of this culture the right way, and where we want it to go in the future. So that settles it and I’m going hand it over to you guys.”
On what clicked in the final three quarters:
“I don’t know. You know I think if we had the answer to that question we would bottle it up. But I think the reality of my end of it was I thought our kids just really hunkered in with detail and that was the challenge in this game in my opinion, and it’s really the challenge with our own football team, because we played hard and I don’t think anyone can take that away from us for. The first 10 games of the season, our lack of detail has hurt us, and it hurt us in the first quarter of the football game. I don’t think it was calls, I don’t think it was our coordinators. I think it was the reality that we weren’t locked into the details in the first quarter, but when you’ve got some seniors that just keep playing like we do and you’ve got some kids who are really straining to get better, then I think you see some positive things happen. I think that’s what you saw in the second, third and fourth quarter of the game.”
On winning a Big 12 road game:
“Well we don’t have to talk about it anymore, so that’s good. And the reality of it is it’s something to build on if you want to win championships. And I just told our team that’s our goal. That’s why I came here. Then the reality of that is you’ve got to win on the road, and you’ve got to win on the road in the month of November. And that’s a great lesson to learn. Obviously we want to play better in the month of November, because I think you want to be hitting on all cylinders. If you’ve been a part of championship programs and you’ve built towards a championship, you know how critical the month of November is and it has to be for your program. So I just think it’s a great teaching lesson again we can continue to learn and grow, and we have to be great teachers, so hopefully that’s it.”
On Mitchell Harger in fourth quarter:
“Well, you know David (Montgomery) got dinged and I think Kene (Nwangwu) obviously did some good things today and so did Michael (Warren). You know I don’t think Michael was 100 percent by any stretch of the imagination and so trying to give it a go just wasn’t there. And I think if you ask every single coach in our program who the one guy we have more faith in than anyone on our team, it’s Mitchell Harger, and we talk about Mitchell and we all know his story. He’s a guy who probably shouldn’t have been playing in the early part of the season with the surgery that he had and it took a long time for him to get rehabilitated. He played the whole spring game with the shoulder being the way it is. He didn’t have to do that and we didn’t know the extent of it or we probably wouldn’t have played him as long as we did, but he’s a pretty special kid. Football is really important to him. And for that young man to score his first touchdown of his career is special. He was the difference today to be honest. I think if you felt our sidelines when he scored and our kids know that and our coaches know that, it was electric. That’s when the tide turned for us.”
On validation a win gives the team:
“Well, again winning and losing is great for everybody else to talk about. To me, it’s really about the process to get there and we’re not there yet. We have to continue to get better. I mean sometimes we get ‘Hey you won,’ but we have to play better. We have to continue to play to what our full ability is. It’s great to win, because it’s great for our kids to feel the reward of winning, and a lot of guys in that locker room deserve to win today, but the reality for me is we are chasing something bigger than winning or losing. We are chasing correctness and to do this thing the right way and to know what it takes to sustain success at a really high level. That’s my goal and that’s what I want to do here and I think that’s what the kids in that locker room want to do. We have got to be great teachers to do it.”
Iowa State junior WR Allen Lazard
On what the win does for the team going forward:
“We’ll take this win just like every other win. We can’t take it differently from any of the other ones because we understand we’re playing two very good teams the rest of the year. We’ve got to come back tomorrow, see what mistakes we had – in the first quarter especially – and capitalize off of that.”
On Mitchell Harger’s performance:
“Unbelievable. Anyone that knows Mitchell Harger knows that’s him. I’m so proud of him because I’ve gotten to know him over the past few years and I’ve seen the work that he’s done. To see him sacrifice day-in and day-out and then have that touchdown was huge. I’m very happy for him.”
Iowa State redshirt senior RB Mitchell Harger
On if he was ready for his number to be called:
“You can never be fully ready for it, but I’ve pictured myself in that situation a million times over the past five years. To say it was a surprise, yeah, but I’ve been ready for it and I’ve been waiting for it.”
On what it means to him to turn the tide in a game:
“For the past 10 games I’ve been waiting to make those chances, opportunities and dreams come true, especially for this team. It isn’t about me, it’s about turning this team around and as soon as those guys saw a guy like me making those plays, then they think, ‘Why can’t anyone else?’ I’ve been working, getting put into the ground for the past five years and it’s all paid off.”
On the importance of the win:
“It means everything, especially for all these young kids. I want them to see that there is a brighter future, so much to look forward to and so much young talent. If they keep working as hard as I did, they can lead beyond whatever I did today and they can keep winning these games.”
Iowa State senior DB Jomal Wiltz
On getting a Big 12 win and ending the losing streak:
“We are excited and happy. Now it’s time to move on and prepare for the next game.”
On what turned around for Iowa State in the second half:
“Momentum and the speed we were playing at. We came out pretty slow and the coaches talked to us and we encouraged each other to pick up the pace.”
UP NEXT: Kansas closes out its home slate Saturday, Nov. 19, as the Jayhawks play host to Texas for Senior Day. Kickoff will either be at 11 a.m. or 2:30 p.m., with a final determination to be set on Sunday, Nov. 13.
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